Buying Guide

The bathroom mirror deserves some special attention and a diffused glass light either side will give a good general illumination where it is needed. The alternative is a halogen downlight from the ceiling or fluorescent strip light over the mirror.

The latest generation of mirrors incorporate lights into the mirrors themselves with sections of the reflective surface removed and lights fitted behind them. This is a very effective way of generating an even light and improving safety.

For general illumination in the rest of the bathroom either use downlights for their refreshing halogen colour or a high output flush ceiling light to suit the dècor.

Portable lights are not permitted in a bathroom so for mood lighting use ceiling mounted directional spot lights aimed away from the bath and at interesting features.

Lighting designed specifically for showers are available and must be carefully fitted according to the instructions.

The following information is a guide to help you understand what fittings can be placed where. This is not an installation guide and reference should be made to the IEE Wiring Regulations (16th Edition) or a qualified electrician.

It is important to understand the rating by which bathroom and some outdoor lights are classified. IP rating stands for 'Ingress Protection' and is always followed by two characters. These two numbers refer to level of protection and it is important that you choose fittings with the correct rating according to where they are to be sited within the bathroom.

  • Zone 0 is inside the bath or shower itself. Any fitting used in this zone must be low voltage, (max 12V) and be rated at least IP67 which is total immersion proof.
  • Zone 1 is the area above the bath to a height of 2.25m from the floor. In this zone a minimum rating of IP44 is required.
  • Zone 2 is an area stretching 0.6m outside the perimeter of the bath and to a height of 2.25m from the floor. In this zone an IP rating of at least IP44 is required.
  • It is good practice to consider the area around a wash basin, within a 60cm radius of any tap to be considered as zone 2.
  • Zone 3 is anywhere outside zones 0, 1 and 2 (subject to specific limits) and where no water jet is likely to be used. No IP rating is required.
  • In addition to the above, if there is a likelihood of water jets being used for cleaning purposes in zones 1, 2 and 3 a fitting rated a minimum IP65 must be used.
  • Full details can be found in the latest copy of the IEE wiring regulations.

IP Ratings Explained

It is important to understand the rating by which bathroom and outdoor lights are classified. IP rating stands for 'Ingress Protection' and is always followed by two characters. These two numbers refer to level of protection and it is important that you choose fittings with the correct rating according to where they are to be sited outdoors or within the bathroom.

First Numeral
Short Description
(Protection Against Solids)
Second Numeral
Short Description
(Protection Against Water)
0 Not protected 0 Not protected
1 Protected against solid objects > 50mm 1 Protected against falling water
2 Protected against solid objects > 12mm 2 Protected against falling water up to 15°
3 Protected against solid objects > 2.5mm 3 Protected against spraying water
4 Protected against solid objects > 1.0mm 4 Protected against splashing water
5 Dust - Protected 5 Protected against low pressure water jets
6 Dust - Tight 6 Protected against high pressure water jets
    7 Protected against temporary immersion
    8 Protected against immersion

Example: IP44 - Protected against solid objects greater than 1mm, and splashing water